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President's Message: Reporting from San Francisco

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NEVADA LAWYER
EDITORIAL BOARD Lisa Wong Lackland, chair Michael T. saunders Mark A. Hinueber, chair-Elect Gregory R. shannon Patricia D. cafferata, Vice chair stephen F. smith scott G. Wasserman, Beau sterling Immediate Past chair Heidi Parry stern Erin Barnett Kristen E. simmons Hon. Robert J. Johnston Richard D. Williamson scott McKenna John Zimmerman BOARD OF GOVERNORS President: cam Ferenbach, Las Vegas President-Elect: constance Akridge, Las Vegas Vice President: Frank Flaherty, carson city Immediate Past President: Kathleen England, Las Vegas James Bradshaw, Reno Elizabeth Brickfield, Las Vegas Amber L. candelaria, Las Vegas Laurence Digesti, Reno Elana Turner Graham, Las Vegas Bruce Hahn, Reno Jenny Hubach, Reno Alan Lefebvre, Las Vegas Vincent ochoa, Las Vegas Richard scotti, Las Vegas Mason simons, Elko Ex-officio Dean John Valery White, UNLV Boyd school of Law
Message from the President
Cam Ferenbach, state Bar of Nevada President
REPoRTING FRoM sAN FRANcIsco
“We all need to ensure that the public understands and subscribes to the system of checks and balances…”
Recently, a prominent politician expressed frustration at “... how the third branch of government undoing the will of the people.” On the same topic, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that supporters of Proposition 8 were quoted asking: “How could the opinion of one judge invalidate the votes of seven million voters?” These comments were made in response to Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger permanently enjoining the enforcement of Proposition 8 in California. Shortly after Judge Walker’s order was entered, the National Conference of Bar Presidents convened in San Francisco as part of the ABA’s 2010 Annual Meeting. Steve Zack became the ABA President and announced the core initiatives for his term.1 Of his four initiatives, one in particular caught my eye, “The need for increased civic education in our schools and society.” Steve Zack grew up in Cuba. In 1961, when Steve was a teenager, he and his family fled the Castro regime and settled in Miami. An article in the August 2010 ABA Journal provides some background on this initiative, “My experience in Cuba is fundamental to my understanding of what’s going on in the United States, and it’s a big reason for my emphasis on civic education. To me, the loss of democracy is not a theoretical exercise. It really happened.” The ABA Journal reports that to this day, Steve Zack keeps a copy of the Cuban constitution in his office. “The Cuban and U.S. constitutions may have been virtually identical on paper. However, without a thorough understanding and a complete commitment to the spirit those written words represented, neither that Cuban constitution nor any other was enough to protect its citizens and guarantee their rights and freedoms.” Retired U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is also devoting considerable time and effort to improving civic education. She chaired the web-based civic education project entitled “Our Courts.” You can see it at www.ourcourts.org. Recognizing the importance of these issues, the State Bar of Nevada sponsors a number of civic education projects throughout the year. You can learn more about them at www.nvbar.org/lre/lre. htm. If you agree with Steve Zack and Justice O’Connor that more effort is required in this area, please contact Kathleen Dickinson, coordinator of the bar’s Law-Related Education department, at kathleend@nvbar.org, and volunteer to help.
STATE BAR STAFF Executive Director: Kimberly K. Farmer Bar Counsel: Rob Bare Deputy Bar Counsel/ General Counsel: David clark Director of Finance & Information Systems: Marc Mersol Director of Continuing Legal Education: Emily Ihrke Director of Admissions: Laura Gould NEVADA LAWYER STAFF Publications Manager: Jennifer smith (jennifers@nvbar.org) Nevada Lawyer Coordinator: Melinda catren (melindac@nvbar.org) Publications Specialist: christina Alberts (christinaa@nvbar.org) GRAPHIC DESIGN Georgina corbalan
ADVERTISING INDEX
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Nevada Lawyer
November 2010
Another fine organization working in this area is Project REAL. They are seeking volunteer tour guides to assist students and teachers in their visits to courtrooms. The time commitment is from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at least one weekday a month during the school year. Check out Project REAL website at projectreal.com. ’s Our government is founded on the U.S. and State Constitutions. All citizens should understand the role of the judiciary in cases such as Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Whether or not you agree with Judge Walker’s conclusions, his obligation to apply constitutional principles to the questions before him forms the foundation of American jurisprudence. We all need to ensure that the public understands and subscribes to the system of checks and balances that has served this country so well for so long. Meanwhile, back at the National Conference of Bar Presidents, as representatives of the State Bar of Nevada, President-Elect Connie Akridge, Executive Director Kim Farmer and I divided up the various tracks of panel discussions and came home with a number of ideas to share with the board of governors and staff, including: • Financial struggles, mental health issues and substance abuse problems among our members; • Multidisciplinary practice, regulating law firms whose shares are publicly traded, E-lawyering and cloud computing; • Making ethics committees more efficient and more valuable to our members; • Establishing a bar-sponsored mentoring program for new admittees; • Improving efforts to increase diversity in the legal profession; and • Programs developed by state and local bars to help members during the recession. If you have an interest or opinion on any of these topics, I would be happy to receive your input. E-mail me at camf@nvbar.org or call me at (702) 317-1449.
A Note From the Issue Editor
By Kristen E. Simmons, Esq.
November is a time for Thanksgiving. It is a time to reflect and be grateful for the blessings in our life and the freedoms we are warranted by living in the United States. It is also a time to thank our military and veterans for their service and efforts in continuing those freedoms. This issue of Nevada Lawyer focuses on our military and veterans. In our first article, retired Judge Larry Sage gives us a report on the Rule of Law mission in Afghanistan. His account outlines his many experiences from his two civilian tours in Afghanistan. Next, Captain Christopher Stein writes of his experiences as a legal advisor to the CENTCOM Contracting Command in Afghanistan. This Nevada lawyer is serving our country by providing legal advice to the counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. Finally, Major Charles G. Kels informs us of the some specific issues that may arise when requesting protected health information from military medical treatment facilities. In addition to these articles, we honor the members of the State Bar of Nevada who have served our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. Also included in this issue is an article and test that bar members can read and take for CLE credit. In this month of giving thanks, let’s all be thankful to our military and veterans for their service and sacrifice for our country.
TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
I’m sure you have noticed that few radio stations offer air traffic reports these days. “chopper Tom” and his cohorts have lost out to technology; check out Google Maps on your computer or smart phone. simply locate the Google Maps web page on your browser and download the application. Next, follow the instructions about “updating permissions” on your phone. Then you will be able to access directions and up-to-date traffic conditions from anywhere. It’s free – as long as you have a large data plan.
Kristen e. simmons is a member of the law firm of Oshins & Associates, LLC in Las Vegas, and practices primarily in the areas of estate, asset protection and business planning.
1 Mr. Zack is a partner in the national law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, LLP. They have an office in Las Vegas.
November 2010
Nevada Lawyer
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